Electrostatics is a branch of physics that specifically deals with stationary or slowly moving electric charges. This field of study explores the properties and various phenomena associated with electric charges, which are ultimately described by Coulomb’s law.
Since ancient times, humans have been familiar with some materials that attract light particles when rubbed, such as amber. The Greek word ἤλεκτρον (ḗlektron), which means amber, is the origin of the term “electricity”. Electrostatic phenomena arise from the forces that electric charges exert on each other. They may appear to be weak, but some electrostatic forces are relatively large. For instance, the force between an electron and a proton is about 36 orders of magnitude stronger than the gravitational force between them.
The most fantastic thing is that electrostatic forces happen when the charges are at rest, and they reach equilibrium positions quickly because the electric force is strong. The mathematical methods of electrostatics help us calculate the distributions of electric field and electric potential from a known configuration of charges, conductors, and insulators.
- What is electrostatic discharge?
- What is an example of electrostatic force?
- What is the difference between static and dynamic electricity?
Electrostatic discharge is a sudden flow of electric current between two electrically charged objects caused by contact, an electrical short, or dielectric breakdown.
An example of electrostatic force is the force between the electron and the nucleus of an atom. This force keeps the electrons in motion circling around the nucleus in an atom.
Static electricity is when charges are present but aren’t moving, whereas dynamic electricity is when charges are in motion, such as in electric currents.
In conclusion, electrostatics is an important branch of physics that explores the phenomena and properties of stationary or slowly moving electric charges. This branch helps in calculating distributions of electric field and electric potential from known configurations of charges, conductors, and insulators. Electrostatics are behind everyday phenomena such as lightning, static electricity shocks, and the attraction of charged objects.